It seems that we’ve been spared once again. The floods that impacted the Tennessee area weeks ago are keeping my suppliers of mold remediation projects quite busy. There’s not a week that goes by that I don’t come across an article or press release on how mold is impacting the homes & businesses in that area. Another common thread amongst these articles is that many suppliers of mold remediation products are responding to meet the needs of mold remediation contractors. It doesn’t take a torrential downpour like they experienced to have mold rear its ugly head. Just this past week I’ve been called out to 2 properties for mold inspections where they were unsure if the drying project to eliminate mold was performed correctly. Wow, is this Deja Vu or what, as I seem to have written a similar article recently. One was commercial & one residential where the property owners were concerned that they might still have a mold and indoor air quality issue. The latter was one where the contractor who remodeled the basement wired the sump pump to a light switch that got turned off and when it rained they had 2? of water in their beautiful, newly furnished basement. The contractor took responsibility and brought in one large dehumidifier. During the mold inspection process, I noted many things the contractor had done correctly such as keeping the GWB (gypsum wall board) a 1/2? off the floor and installing an interior french drain. After scouring over all the contents and building materials I found only one piece of furniture that had mold growth on it. Turns out this was an antique that had been brought in from an unconditioned warehouse. Translation, it could have come in with the mold on it. I had noted, that although the cabinets had not had the kick-plates removed, they were elevated off the concrete slab with shims. As I was completing my mold assessment by utilizing infra-red thermography of the exterior and interior partition wall and the bottom of the high end cabinets for the wet bar, I noticed some thermal anomalies. After scanning with a non-invasive moisture meter and getting elevated readings, I removed the kick-plates only to find mold growing on the back side of them. Invasive moisture meter readings confirmed what the infra-red images had shown. The base of the cabinets had elevated WME (wood moisture equivalent) readings and VMLG (visible mold-like growth) which was later confirmed with swab samples. If only the contractor had the sense to educate himself or bring in a professional schooled in structural drying within the first 48 hours, he could have prevented the mold growth. The end result now is he will end up having to rip out tiled counter top that the cabinets support along with replacing the cabinets. The commercial project was new construction that just been rented out after being vacant and unconditioned for 18 months. The tenant moved in with over 400k of office furniture and supplies. They had been noticing a musty odor every time it rained. After talking with other tenants, they were told that the drywall was installed before the building envelope was closed and some of the building materials had grown mold on them. The developer had his crews wipe it off with bleach and paint it, not the proper way to clean mold. Again, bringing in the mold remediation professionals would have prevented him from now having to pay to have all the tenants contents cleaned as well as removing and replacing most of the impacted GWB at considerable expense. In both cases our clients contracted Advanced Mold Diagnostics to do mold testing and mold inspection which proved to be the prudent thing to do in both cases.

An expensive lesson learned by the parties now responsible for footing the bill? Unfortunately, I doubt it.

Craig Camel

Advanced Mold Diagnostics

Advanced Building Strategies